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April 5, 2020 1:14 pm

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CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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April 5, 2020 1:14 pm

Facing a pandemic, more and more home gardeners are planting their own food, providing not just a safe source of nutrition in unsettled times, but also escape. There has been a dramatic rise -- as much as 50-percent -- in online traffic on residential networks that WERE NOT built for data-heavy two-way video conference calls. New York Times columnist Philip Galanes discusses social dilemmas for those wrestling with new kinds of conflicts created by the pandemic, and why he's an optimist about the current crisis. For patients of a Bronx, N.Y. mental health center whose doors have been closed by the pandemic, counseling via phone is a lifeline during a catastrophically anxious time. And comedy legends Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner and George Takei have advice for the "Next-Greatest Generation."

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Let's partner for all of it. Learn more at Good morning. I'm Jane Pauley, and this is Sunday morning.

A Sunday morning back in New York, although still not back home on our set, like so many things for so many of us, that will have to wait a few weeks. We begin this morning with a look at the numbers. The number of coronavirus cases exploded this past week, as did the number of those we've lost. And then there's the havoc this pandemic is wreaking on the nation's economy. That's where we'll begin this morning. First things first, with money correspondent Jill Schlesinger. And then at a time when all of us are using the internet, we ask our David Pogue if the internet can handle all of us logging on at the same time. That's our cover story. As more and more Americans do their work and take their classes at home over video, more of them are having problems with the internet.

It's almost as though it were buffering and I'd hear every third or every fourth word, then it would freeze completely and that would be it. There are a lot of signs that traffic is increasing pretty dramatically, especially during working hours on these residential networks. As we move our entire lives online, can the internet hold up?

Ahead on Sunday morning. And then it's on to the toll all of this is taking on our emotional health. Susan Spencer is on the case. The stress, the anxiety, the emotions that are provoked by this crisis are truly significant. As New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently made clear, mental health is but one more casualty of this pandemic. So where do you think you'd be if in fact they had discontinued therapy altogether? I don't even want to think about it.

Hi this is Katie. Therapy in the age of quarantine, later on Sunday morning. They say laughter is the best medicine and this morning Ben Mankiewicz has proof. He's in conversation with comedy legends Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner. Marie Antoinette. Oh Marie Antoinette, what a cutie.

Did you know? They are comic legends, best friends and World War II veterans. If we got through Hitler, we can get through this stuff.

When things are bad, we rally for the country. Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner. I hope you live as long as I do. With laughs and lessons for us all. Carl, stop talking for one minute.

Okay. Ahead on Sunday morning. Tracy Smith looks at the return of the Victory Garden. Luke Burbank meets a real pinball wizard.

Mo Rocca asks, what's the deal with toilet paper? Once again, Jim Gaffigan recaps his family's week. And more on this Sunday morning, the 5th of April, 2020, when we return. First things first, this past week we took a double hit. Terrible numbers both on the medical and economic fronts.

Here's money correspondent Jill Schlesinger. Let's be honest, there wasn't a lot of good news this past week. Coronavirus has now killed more than 7,000 Americans. And the government came out with the stunning prediction that there could eventually be 100 to 240,000 deaths in the country. Meanwhile, the economic casualties are starting to add up.

The March jobs report was a disaster. In the last full week of that month, more than 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits. That's on top of more than 3 million the week before.

Keep in mind the previous high was in 1982, when just under 700,000 people filed. What was your reaction to now having two weeks of initial claims coming in at nearly 10 million? The numbers are just shocking.

Kenneth Rogoff is an economics professor at Harvard who has written about the last eight centuries of economic crises. We've been hit by what is almost an alien invasion. It's a natural catastrophe.

That catastrophe has now spread to retailers like Macy's, The Gap, and Victoria's Secret, who announced they're sidelining hundreds of thousands of workers. I think people are going to look at these numbers. They're going to wake up and pour through the newspapers and realize that we're going to talk about this as the worst since the depression. They're going to imagine that soon we'll be lining up for bread.

Can you really help take some of the anxiety out of that kind of conjuring of images for us? Well, I'd make a couple of points. First, we are much richer than we were in the Great Depression. We can afford to do things we couldn't afford to do.

I think the government's moving in that direction. I think the financial markets still sort of believe it'll be back to normal by the end of the year or early next year. And if they're right, that's very different than the Great Depression, which lasted 10 years. About those financial markets, the numbers from the first three months of the year are in, and it's not pretty. The Dow had its worst quarter since 1987, falling 23 percent.

Crude oil saw its biggest quarterly price drop in history, down 66 percent. But maybe this is a sign of the times. The commodity with the biggest gain?

Orange juice, up 23 percent. So keep drinking plenty of fluids, wash your hands, and let's keep each other safe. Money correspondent Jill Schlesinger, our thanks. As most of us have figured out, the internet keeps us together when we're supposed to stay apart.

But what if we're all going online at once? A question for our David Pogue. Like almost everyone else in America, corporate events producer Mark Felix has been working from home lately. It hasn't exactly been smooth sailing. Three, although it seems like week 33, and the last week my internet has been crapping out on me big time.

What form does that take? It keeps cutting out. My Zoom meetings, I get dropped. When I need to open up a particular website, it's slower than usual. It's really acting like quite the belligerent child.

He's not the only one. We're definitely seeing really dramatic rises in the use of internet traffic, especially during the workday, especially on these residential networks. Anywhere from about 20 percent increases two weeks ago to closer to 40 or 50 percent now. Internet expert Josephine Wolf is a professor at Tufts University. How much should we worry about the internet getting overloaded by everybody at home on video on video and video chat? So far, we've been doing pretty well in urban areas of the United States, and I think it's very reasonable to be concerned that some of this real time video chatting and communication that we're relying on could very soon, if not already, start to experience a certain amount of lag, a certain amount of jitter in the delivery to our homes.

According to Wolf, the Internet's path to your home has basically three parts. There are the servers like the Netflix computers that send out our movies. Then there are the fat high speed connections run by service providers like Comcast and Verizon. And then the third part are going to be these lower capacity residential networks, what we sometimes call the last mile of the network that actually gets out to your home. That's the part that most people are concerned about in terms of handling extra capacity. The good news is that the Internet was really built from the beginning to deal with crisis. The original specifications from the 1960s were around how do you build a communications network that could live through actually a much worse crisis, literally a nuclear war. Matthew Prince is the CEO of Cloudflare, a company that provides security and other services for big websites. It's sort of like if you have a map and you've got lots of different roads that you can drive between two points, then traffic can spread out across those different roads and you won't have as much congestion on any one of them.

Well, that sounds great. And yet, in the European Union, Netflix and YouTube have actually degraded their picture quality to avoid overloading the Internet. Prince says that's because the Internet's wiring is different in Europe. They rely a lot of times on older technology, especially DSL, which is basically the Internet over the telephone lines, as opposed to in the U.S. where most of the Internet connectivity is over the cable system. Turns out that the telephone line system, the DSL system, doesn't have quite as much capacity. And if you have cable, you get much faster Internet speed into your house than out of it. The cable system was really built originally to be able to take lots of TV programs and bring them into your house.

It was never built so well to actually take content from your house and send it back out. And so I think when people in the U.S. are seeing problems, by and large, those problems are coming because they're trying to have multiple people in the household trying to do multiple video conferences. If I am experiencing jitters or hiccups, is there anything I can do about it at home? The quickest way to do that is often to turn off your video if you're doing something like this so that you're just trying to get the audio. Will you do that so I can see what it looks like? Turn off your video? So if I do that right there, the capacity that I have can be reserved just for the audio so that at least I can hear what's going on. And then there are people even in this country who don't have high-speed Internet at all. Right. And that's a huge problem right now.

And it's always been a huge problem. I hope that one of the lessons we'll take away from this is the importance of really investing in that infrastructure and upgrading that infrastructure for everybody. For everybody else, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince says the Internet won't slow to a stop. I think there's a lot of things that we need to worry about during this crisis, but I think the Internet is actually one of those things that is really holding up very, very well. Eventually, presumably, our lives and our Internet patterns will return to normal.

Mark Felix, for one, can't wait. Hard for me to admit it, but I look forward to my lengthy commute into New York City and working in a real office. I will miss being home, but not all the trips to the refrigerator. Victory Gardens played a big role on the home front during the dark days of World War II. Now, Tracy Smith tells us they're back. This week, the flowers at Rogers Gardens in Newport Beach, California, are in full, dazzling bloom.

It's as if to remind us that even in the middle of our upended lives, spring somehow arrived on time. But these days, it's only the bees seem to be interested in flowers. Right now, nurseries like this one are selling out of vegetables.

What do you got there? I got tomato plants, heirlooms, black zebra. After weeks of seeing empty grocery store shelves, home gardeners are snapping up everything from lettuce to lemon trees, says Rogers' general manager, Ron Vanderhof. But what are customers buying? Things that relate to food.

They don't want to go out in public, but they also want the safety and security of nutritious food. And no better way to do that than to grow your own. Nothing's better than going out to your garden and picking a tomato off the vine.

Maybe try onions if you can find them from seed. And now it seems gardening how-to videos are, forgive me, sprouting up everywhere. Stop panicking, stop over buying the toilet paper and get out and start a garden.

Pick a spot tonight, pick a spot. Grow it yourself food, you might say, is suddenly just the thing. People here say seed sales have doubled, maybe even tripled.

And it might surprise you that tomato plants are going at the rate of 800 a day. What's not so surprising, and certainly not new, is the notion of growing your own food when times get tough. It all started back in 1917, when the government called on people to grow war gardens to free up food for soldiers fighting overseas in World War I. And by the 1940s, same idea, different name. Victory Garden.

That's the answer. We can grow food for victory in our own backyards. And grow they did in every available patch of land, even in the shadow of New York's Chrysler Building. All told, an estimated 20 million World War II Victory Gardens produced nearly 40 percent of the nation's fruits and vegetables. The goals today aren't quite as ambitious, but having a home garden still beats another trip to the grocery store. Are you guys spending more time out here in the garden? Well, we definitely have a lot more time to be in the garden. Christina Nylander is a pediatrician who thought planting veggies might get her two kids to eat more of them. But in the end, it's not just about the food. With all the watering and the weeding, your own COVID-19 Victory Garden can produce what might be the most valuable commodity of all these days, escape.

It sounds like in this time of so much negative news, this could be one of the little positives to come out of it. We want to be a happy place, where we're providing food and a little bit of distraction. But we also want a person's garden to be their happy place, where they can do the same.

So yeah, happy places are really important right now. The anxiety and stress of these times are a lot for any of us to handle. So where and how to turn for help?

Susan Spencer has an answer. Teresa Brown has had a life without luxuries or much security or any peace of mind. Talk to me a little bit about this feeling of stress that has basically been with you since you were a child. In order for me to kind of talk about it, I have to think about the traumas that I've been through. Traumas, like not just growing up poor, but growing up where we lived in apartments that didn't have heat or grew up in neighborhoods that had high crime or went to schools where you were bullied, those things. She spent years trying to process those traumas, all the while raising her three nieces in New York City. Finally, she found help from a therapist. What kind of things do you talk to the therapist about?

Pretty much what is it I could do to either relieve my stress or find tools to help me deal with the situations that I have been going through. But three weeks ago, she wasn't sure she'd ever see that therapist again. New York State has become the epicenter of the outbreak. Six percent of all cases in the world are there. The pandemic meant that Mosaic, the not-for-profit mental health center in the Bronx where Teresa goes, had no choice but to close its doors to in-person visits.

No one-on-one therapy, no counseling. When you realize the magnitude of this pandemic, was there a time when you weren't sure that you'd be able to continue to serve your clients? Yes, and that frightened me tremendously. Donna Dimitri Friedman is the executive director of Mosaic, off limits to visitors in these strange times, so we filmed her working outside. She says she could not imagine leaving more than a thousand desperate low-income clients with nowhere to turn in the midst of a terrifying pandemic.

The stakes are very high. Some people have anxiety, some people have major depressive illness, and that's all heightened of course in this crisis. So we would be seeing people really begin to decompensate. So three weeks ago, Friedman's staff of 100 took drastic measures, switching all mental health counseling to teletherapy, a fancy name for using the phone.

They weren't authorized to do so until the pandemic hit, and New York State waived its regulations. It seems like this must have been a sea change for you. So we mobilized immediately actually before we even had guidance. What about the challenges in terms of actually helping anybody this way? So there was some resistance from the clients and some resistance from the staff. How are we going to do this?

Is this really going to work? But pretty quickly, people kind of have pulled together and are doing this and doing their part and responding. For what we're dealing with now, is teletherapy pretty much the ideal tool? Teletherapy is ideally suited to providing mental health care under the current circumstances, and it's being used more now than ever in history. And it's a long history, says Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, chair of the psychiatry department at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Back in 1959, the Nebraska Psychiatric Institute first used video conferencing. A decade later, teletherapy consultations were available to troubled travelers at Boston's Logan Airport. And about 30 years ago, telepsychiatry became a subject of serious study. Do you think that really it's as effective as it is to have a one-on-one conversation? Well, there's actually substantial data from systematic studies which show that it is effective.

It better be, now more than ever. New research shows that living in quarantine can have grave long-term mental health effects, as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently recognized. I'm asking psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists who are willing to volunteer their time to contact the state. More than 6,000 people responded. No surprise to Dr. Lieberman. This is going to have a population-wide effect of PTSD proportions. It's almost primal.

It's almost apocalyptic in its nature. What are the challenges that the whole teletherapy thing poses in itself? What is lacking is the ability to see someone's face, to, you know, feel what someone brings into a room, but I don't know where we'd be without it right now, frankly.

What do you mean? I don't know where we'd be without that connection right now. Katie Reardon is a mental health counselor at Mosaic. Lately, she's been on the phone a lot, offering therapy six days a week, about 10 hours a day. So what have these weeks been like for you? It's been exhausting.

It's been exhausting. It's a strain. One of Katie's clients is Theresa Brown, who she knows as Terry. Terry is the, you know, the guardian of a family and balancing so many different challenges, financial, educational, physical space. This pandemic didn't get rid of problems that existed prior to it coming along, right? So all these stressors that have led people to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness and anxiety and powerlessness before this emerged, now they're just compounded with the world as we knew it, you know, being shaken up. That's your challenge, isn't it? It's Terry Brown's challenge. It's my challenge.

Yes, I have a lot of anxiety, but I am trying so hard to be positive about this because it's not just for me. It's for my children and I want them to understand that. Don't panic. Things will get better.

For now, at least, that may be the best advice of all. As you're about to see this morning, our morocca is on a roll. They buy it before we put it on the shelf. I thought because there was going to be a shortage, maybe I would come and stock up, but I see someone beat me to the punch. Yep, it happened before. It happened before. A toilet paper scare during the energy crisis of the early 1970s. Former CBS news reporter Sally Quinn covered the story. Amidst the recent preoccupation with the fuel shortage and the meat shortage, a new gap has appeared in the staples of the American household, the toilet paper shortage.

Filmmaker Brian Gerstin made a documentary short about it last year. Yes, before the current toilet paper panic. You know that people think you're some kind of prophet now. I am not the Nostradamus of toilet paper shortages.

Here's what happened back in December of 1973. A congressman from Wisconsin, Harold Froelich, releases a statement saying the next thing we're going to have to worry about is a potential toilet paper shortage. A toilet paper shortage is no laughing matter. It is a problem that will potentially touch every American. The warning was picked up by late night King Johnny Carson's writers who left out the potential part. There is an acute shortage of toilet paper in the good old United States. We got to quit writing on it. The false alarm sent Carson's audience of almost 20 million running.

I'm used to being able to go when I want to when I want to, but suddenly I think I'm going to have to start curbing my habits. People all over the country stormed supermarkets, grabbed as much toilet paper as they possibly could. A month later, CBS News's own Walter Cronkite set the record straight. The Scott Paper Company, citing panic buying on the retail level, said today it is implementing an allocation system for the national distribution of toilet tissue. A Scott spokesman said unfounded rumors of a shortage has caused excessive demand at retail outlets. And then Carson issued a clarification of sorts.

All my life is an entertainer. I don't want to be remembered the man who created a false toilet paper scare. Apparently there is no shortage.

And there is no shortage today. But there is another panic. When there's uncertainty in the world, people would like to eliminate some of that uncertainty. Boston University economics professor Jay Zagorski says it's rooted in something called zero risk bias.

So buying toilet paper or plenty of toilet paper ensures that at least one act in their life is completely taken care of. It gives us some degree of reassurance of certainty. Reassurance.

Certainty. You might run out of something else, but at least you have one of the staples that makes most people feel better. The ripple is a great way to clean. Now that's something we can all get behind. But Arist Mastrides of toilet paper manufacturer Kimberly-Clark wants to make clear.

We're working very closely with our retail partners to ensure that we can get that product to the store shelves and so that this temporary shortfall can be corrected. And here's something to bowl you over. About 90 percent of toilet paper Americans use is made right here in the USA. I think the most important message that people should take away is there's actually plenty of toilet paper.

There's no need to panic. A lesson Sally Quinn imparted to our viewers over 45 years ago. Apparently there's plenty of toilet paper for everybody. It's just that the terror has caused people to hoard, thereby depleting the supply. And all for nothing.

Americans it seems are just shortage scared about toilet paper and everything else. Our man in Italy, Seth Doan, has been quarantined in Rome since testing positive for the coronavirus three weeks ago. This morning we're happy to report things are starting to look up.

For Seth and for Italy. Images from Italy are usually a window into the past. But recently its empty canals, tourist sites and streets provided a startling glimpse of the future. Probably the most startling glimpse of the future. Probably we are learning things for the next pandemic. Anesthesiologist Marco Vergano was the lead author of recommendations designed to help Italian doctors prioritize ICU patients when there aren't adequate resources. A dilemma hospitals in the US now face. So what should the US be learning from Italy? When I hear the news from colleagues and friends, for example in New York City, I think that probably they wasted some of the advantage they had.

That advantage? Time to prepare. He says a few extra days of containment measures in communities can make an exponential difference in hospitals. What is the lag time between the lockdown and when you really see it working?

I mean at least 10 days but probably up to three weeks. Hospitals in Italy have been sources of infections since early cases were not recognized and the Italian government's evolving response has also been criticized. Initially only Italy's north was locked down and people fled south, likely carrying the infection. Now a national lockdown is in place and Italy has boosted surveillance and fines. Despite its staggering more than 15,000 deaths, Italy has shown encouraging signs this past week as the percentage increase of new infections slowed. But the country is prioritizing testing only the most severe cases so that means many others go undetected and Vergano says calculations including those in China have been misleading. Many epidemiologists say that probably the real number of deaths is four to eight times more than the official numbers and this is happening in Italy too. So this is, those are catastrophic numbers. This issue of underreporting is just a chronic one. John Zellner, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan, says testing is key.

It's like fighting gravity, right? It's really hard to beat back the tide. When you have one, two, three, four, five cases in your community and you know where you are, they are, you can deal with them on a case-by-case basis. But as that number grows, the ability to chase down individual cases just completely goes out the window and we're left with these more draconian measures. What went so wrong in Italy? The problem is that we've been the first western country where the disease was diagnosed and so we did not recognize cases of the disease that certainly was around at least four or five weeks before. Dr Giacomo Grasselli is coordinating the response at hospitals in hard-hit Lombardy province. They struggle with a demographic challenge. Are there cultural factors here in Italy that made the spread worse?

The age of the population because Italy has like one of the oldest population in the world. The only way to slow infections is to change behavior and that has not been easy. In late February, just days before he tested positive for COVID-19, this top Italian politician tweeted about maintaining normality and rekindling the country's economy. If we leave this disease go, we will have a number of deaths which is comparable to that of the second world war. I don't see how having hundreds of thousands of deaths can help the economy.

I would be draconian now and then we will restart as we started after the war. While lockdowns may buy time, ultimately widespread testing and contact tracing are essential to truly defeat this virus. As we all understand, this new time has changed how we behave in ways large and small and in case you need a little guidance, Erin Moriarty knows just who to turn to. Dear social cues, I planned to interview writer Philip Galanis for CBS Sunday Morning and then several people in my office building tested positive for the coronavirus. Do I need to warn him before I show up at his door? Absolutely.

It is what every single person in the country is thinking about and worried about. These are all your most recent. These are the ones that have come in and whom better to turn to at a time like this than Philip Galanis himself. For nearly 12 years, he's been the wise and witty writer of Social Cues, the column that helps readers of the New York Times resolve social dilemmas. From how to say no to friends seeking an invite to your summer home to dealing with grief at a cocktail party.

You say it's not an etiquette column, but it's social questions. So what do you do? What do you do?

What do you do? As long as it's about an awkward relationship between people, I want to be there to help you. And this pandemic has created all kinds of new conflicts to wrestle with. The questions that I'm getting on coronavirus are so heartbreaking because they're the regular letters, but they have now an element of danger or an element of something more moving. I'm a 15-year-old boy and I finally have a girlfriend. Yay. I was so excited to ask her to the prom, but our school canceled prom because of the coronavirus. I literally went up to my bedroom and started to cry.

The question was, was there anything he could substitute for a prom at his school to make this special moment with his girlfriend still come off? And I thought, oh, I love this. These days, Galanis, a 57-year-old lawyer, is writing his advice column at his home in East Hampton, where he and his husband, architect Michael Haverlen, are writing out this pandemic. Why you? What makes you qualified to help people with their social dilemmas? There's a tradition of advice columnists. There's Dear Abby, there's Ann Landers. They were like lovely Yentas who wanted to help people out and so am I. As a child, Galanis read Dear Abby aloud to his parents and younger brothers at the breakfast table.

I loved the idea that there would be a problem and there would be a definite solution to the problem and Dear Abby had it. But Galanis never imagined the problems his family would face when he was 23 and his seemingly serene father took his own life. If you could have known my dad, you wouldn't have, I mean, you would think there isn't a nicer guy. He was so sweet and so shy and so good. The fact that somebody like...

Okay, sorry. Galanis was devastated that he had missed the signs. The fact that that could happen to him makes me think that everyone has got something. He later wrote a novel inspired by his father's suicide, masking his pain with humor that caught the eye of a New York Times editor and in 2008 Social Cues was born. When I started, I played things for humor. I played things for snark.

I slapped people. Like the woman who wrote, my boyfriend assumed I was Jewish when we met on JDate, a website for Jewish singles. Now I'm afraid he's going to dump me because I didn't tell the truth.

What should I do? Galanis wasn't kind. Her name was Christiana, like a very typically Jewish name. He really should have known.

He wasn't a rocket scientist either. But I said, you know, where to next Christiana? Readers loved it. So you were using the column early on really to entertain the readers as opposed to enlighten. It took me four years to figure out the volume of letters that were coming in from people who were really hurting. I think as much as I was hurting. But over time the column like Galanis became much more empathetic.

I was a funny writer, definitely. I'll give myself that, but it wasn't what we needed. So his needed advice for the woman on an airplane who took this video of a man punching the back of her reclined seat? No excuse for hitting the back of someone's seat or kicking it. But that impulse that she had is the impulse that I hate.

The impulse to film you and put it on the internet and hope that he shamed into being a different person. He wants to encourage people to be kinder even now in this pandemic. As panic shoppers appear to fight for toilet paper and groceries. Someone buys up all the bread. Do you say something? Do you want a loaf of bread or are you just being a you're just being a community police? So that's your answer. Yeah my answer is don't say anything and I know how hard it is because trust me there's nobody who wants to shout at that woman buying all the bread like I do.

But I've really not all the time but a lot of the time learned I don't need to police what is right and what's wrong because you know for all we know she's making lunches for the entire East Hampton Elementary School. And remember the teenager whose prom was canceled? Galanis offers sympathy and an answer. He's going to have a private prom. It's going to be for him and his girlfriend. They're going to get just as dressed up as they were.

He's going to ask her to her house in just the way he was going to ask her to the prom and they're going to have a nice dance. That is of course with some social distancing in mind. Pandemic or not Philip Galanis is in the end an optimist. He often sees people at their worst but believes in their best and thinks this and thinks this current crisis is an opportunity. This is the part that I'm waiting to see with coronavirus and I know it's coming because we lived through 9-11 this way. Do you remember when people started opening doors for each other and we started seeing each other in a community?

There's that way of looking out for each other. I know it's coming. Week three of Jim Gaffigan's family in quarantine. Let's catch up. Here's some good news. It's springtime everyone. Winter is finally over. Flowers are blooming.

Baby birds are singing. Well from what I've heard I've been in quarantine for the past three weeks with my wife and five children. But so have many of you. I mean not with my wife and five children or with this haircut. Thanks Jeannie. Of course where you quarantine can provide a different experience. My brother Joe and my sister Pam are in quarantine in Chicago in their homes. My brother Mitch is in quarantine in Indiana. I have another brother Mike in quarantine in Orlando. I know I have a lot of siblings.

It's annoying. My sister Kathy is in quarantine in Mesa, Arizona with her boyfriend. She's been nice enough to send photos of her and her boyfriend enjoying Arizona's weather.

Dinner with the Gaffagans, including your hostess who regrets agreeing to this. Me? Well me and my family are here in my New York City apartment. If you've watched the news recently you know New York City is the new epicenter. There are more cases in New York City than anywhere else.

So we're number one. To make things more interesting my wife is considered high risk. You see two years ago my wife had a tumor the size of a pear removed from her brain. Here we are.

The surgery was a success, thank God, but following that she contracted pneumonia which severely damaged her lungs. So here we are on double secret lockdown quarantine. The big highlight of my day when I'm not cooking and cleaning is taking the garbage out or picking up packages. I call it my me time. But you know what? It's still spring. It's a time of renewal and rebirth. A promise of better things to come instead of being disappointed about staying at home right now. We should be thinking about the possibilities of the springs in the future. You know what?

I can hear the baby bird singing and I see the leaves growing and I don't know. I guess it gives me hope. I guess it gives me hope. Did that sound believable? Be safe, everyone. Two legends of comedy are in conversation this morning with our man in Hollywood, Ben Mankiewicz. This is Nate and Al's Delicatessen in Beverly Hills closed this week after serving showbiz folk like Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner for 75 years. It's also just a few blocks away from where Mel Brooks hosts his weekly lunch that is suspended for now as are millions of other meaningful social gatherings for millions of Americans. It also means if you want to talk to Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner it's going to be a cyber chat. That's where the two old friends got together to talk about World War II, the depression, the notion of sacrifice, and of course to give each other the business. Let the bickering begin. Carl, stop talking for one minute.

Okay. A real life comedy routine. Wow, I can't believe it.

From two best friends. I think the only way to get through this crisis is to sing a World War II song. And that song is, we did it before and we can do it again. We can do it again. I'd rather sing.

I'd rather sing. I can't close them. You open Carl up, there's no closing.

Truth is the Mel and Carl show hasn't closed since they met as TV joke writers in the 1950s. I didn't know who he was. I came to work for the show of shows that sits seats a straight man and there's this little guy in a room.

Call it laugh at first sight. I don't know who he was and he's impersonating a Jewish pirate and I'll never forget those first words. He says, you know how hard it is to set sail these days? You know what they're charging for sailcloth?

A dollar 37 cents a yard. Now 98 Carl is still Mel straight man and Mel only 93 continues to be, well, Mel. How are you coping? I am not watching the news and I'm telling everybody watch old black and white movies. By the way, I have a great suggestion.

It's called young Frankenstein. Penny for your thoughts. It'll do you a little good and it'll do me a lot of good. Showbiz has been good to both of them. Their resumes are Hollywood comedy history.

Hi there, remember me? Right. Including the Dick Van Dyke show for Carl and Blazing Saddles for Mel.

Well, that's the end of this suit. Hi, I'm Max Brooks. Max Brooks is Mel's son, also a historian and the author of Devolution. Is it difficult for him not to see his friends? If anybody needs to see his friends, I'm going to see his friends. If anybody needs to see friends, I think it's Mel Brooks. I think there's probably no one in America right now that is finding it more difficult to socially distance than my dad.

Hi dad. He thrives on crowds. He thrives on friends. For him to have to sit at home behind glass is brutally hard on him right now, but he is doing what he has to do because he understands that. Americans of Mel and Carl's generation understand struggle and sacrifice.

They both grew up during the Depression and served their country in World War II. Is there a message to give to other generations from you guys about this sense that we can get through this? We have done this before?

Well, we've done it before. There was a guy named Hitler that was still around and he's not. If we got through Hitler, we can get through this stuff.

This is a breeze. We just have to grin and bear it. I think that the greatest generation's message to all of us is that in times of crisis, everyone has a part to play. You cannot just live your life for you. You are part of a whole. You're part of a community and you must do your part.

Of course, doing your part during a crisis is all relative, easier for some than others. Welcome. Live long and prosper. George Takei, the Star Trek actor, talking to us through a glass door at his home. A Japanese American born in Los Angeles, his life changed months after Pearl Harbor when armed American soldiers came to the Takei home and took the family away. I was five years old at the time. We were seen as the enemy. We were put on a crowded train and transported two-thirds of the way across the country to the swamps of Arkansas to a barbed wire internment camp. Soldiers with machine guns pointed at us. When you hear the Chinese virus, the Wuhan virus. Oh, it gets my blood boiling. It is a threat to us. A Chinese American woman in a New York subway was yelled at and chased and assaulted.

And then in San Francisco, a woman was yelled at and spat at. It is so important to have wise leadership that knows history. I'm keeping my social distance but sending you all the good wishes of Star Trek. Mel and Carl aren't watching Star Trek. No offense, George. They're sticking to classic movies and game shows.

Yeah, we turn on Jeopardy at the same time and we turn on Wheel of Fortune. Being apart and staying together and a little advice to the country's leaders. Don't scare us, you know. I don't mean to soft pedal anything but try to persuade us with your reason, with your logic.

Tell us how to get through it and show us by example how much you care about this country and how much you care about who's in it. Mel, you started to sing that song. Can I ask you to sing that song again? We did it before and we can do it again and we will do it again. We'll knock them over and then we'll get the guy in back of them.

We did it before, we'll do it again. Earlier David Pogue looked at computer software. Now the subject is recreational hardware with our Luke Burbank. It was just one short month ago that Logan Bowden was on the local TV News in Portland, Oregon celebrating the resurgence of pinball. We as Quarterworld really wanted to make sure that there was places other than big arcades to be able to get your pinball fix in. Quarterworld, which Bowden manages, has its own arcade and even rents machines to bars and pizza shops around town and it's one of the reasons Portland has more pinball machines per capita than any other place in the country.

But of course last month feels like a long time ago now. On March 13th the Quarterworld arcade was shut down because of COVID-19 and Logan had to lay off almost his entire staff. It was gut-wrenching. I mean the arcade like that's your job.

That's how you support yourself. Bowden made the decision the day before Oregon had its first reported death from the virus. An arcade in its essence is a very hands-on. You're touching everything and there is not enough Clorox in the world to be able to be like following someone around cleaning game so like we just had to pull the plug. But then Quarterworld earned a bonus round. Right now we're trying to... Bowden and his staff had the idea to offer month-long home rentals of pinball and arcade games.

I don't want to risk it more than we need to, all right? Meaning he was able to hire back at least some of his staff. Unfortunately there are businesses that are not going to survive this and I'm just doing everything in my power to make sure that everyone that we had to lay off has some place to come back to. Each machine is cleaned and then packed at their warehouse which contains over 750 vintage games.

Then they're delivered to Portlanders hungry for a little home entertainment that doesn't involve a digital screen. One thing to ask is anybody in your household feeling under the weather or sick? Still Logan and his crew say they're cognizant of the dangers that come with human contact. People are opening their doors and letting us come into their safe zone and we want to make sure that they know that they are safe.

We're taking all the precautions to make sure that they're safe but also I'm making sure that my guys are safe. Bowden says now more than ever there's something therapeutic about the old school nature of his games. I feel like they remind you of kind of a happier time. You either see or play these classic cabinets in an arcade or in a bar or a pizza place or a restaurant. He's an avid pinball player himself and sounds almost zen when he talks about the game. You know unlike a lot of like classic arcade games uh yeah that turtle that you gotta jump on in level two he's always gonna be there. He's not going away but every game of every game of pinball is always different.

I ask you to comply with the spirit of the law. On March 23rd when Oregon Governor Kate Brown ordered all non-essential businesses to close Quarterworld's team rushed to deliver their machines to customers stuck at home in case it would be their last chance. All told Logan's crew have been able to rent and deliver nearly a hundred games. One of those lucky recipients was Samantha Swindler. I've always wanted a pinball machine.

A reporter for the city's newspaper the Oregonian. I feel like totally privileged to be able to just sit at home and play pinball and feel like I am helping in that way by not harming people by going out. A timely thought as we battle this virus.

If you're not a health care worker or delivery driver on the front lines you can still do your part by just staying home and who knows maybe playing a game of pinball. The novel Little Fires Everywhere was a huge bestseller for author Celeste Ng. Now Martha Teichner tells us it's become a new television series. So this is oh that's me.

Oh this is the Y-E-H spaghetti dinner which I think I put into the novel. Celeste Ng like most of us. We're not going to look at that picture. I'm gonna I'm gonna call a veto on that. Finds her high school yearbook pictures embarrassing. I'm gonna veto that too. Yeah I think it's very sweet.

We're not going to show that. In health class we had to write a letter to ourselves 10 years in the future. So we were 16 and so you wrote a letter to yourself at age 26. I had asked myself like so are you you know are you a published author yet?

At 26 her answer was no. That is my freshman English class actually. But here she is at 39 back at Shaker Heights High School in February before coronavirus shut it down. I love this I love this Lebron mural.

It's nice. Signing the library copy of her second mega bestseller Little Fires Everywhere. Thank you so much. It takes place in the Cleveland, Ohio suburb where she lived before going off to Harvard. Hulu has turned the novel into an eight-part miniseries.

It begins as the book does with an actual fire. The plot involves who said it but more importantly why. Reese Witherspoon plays the wealthy entitled Elena Richardson. How thoughtful. Carrie Washington is artist Mia Warren who rents an apartment from Richard. I love art. I can tell.

This is what you have in mind. These are the houses on Parkland Drive that I had in in my mind not any particular one but this scale of house the sort of grandeur of it and the beauty of it. Shaker Heights by its very nature is a character in the story too.

Everyone is as I understand it was different it had to be designed specifically for that spot. Incorporated in 1912 Shaker Heights was built on the site of an actual Shaker village. It took to heart some of the Shakers strictly enforced values. Every street was designed so schoolchildren never had to cross a major thoroughfare. The grass could be no more than six inches high or a homeowner was fined. They planned it from the very beginning sort of to be a utopia.

I mean their goal was perfection. By 1960 it was the wealthiest community in America where the good life included doing good. It was known for being a place where diversity was sort of a priority and that they were working hard to be racially diverse at least in terms of black and white and racially aware. Which is one reason Ing's scientist parents both immigrants from Hong Kong chose to live here and to send her to Shaker Heights public schools among the best in the nation even though there were few Asian students.

A lot of times Asian Americans much like the Latinx population are sort of this this outside party between sort of the bigger questions about black and white race relations. Banana and a pear. It was probably inevitable Ing would be a writer. It's made out of polymer clay which is soft until you bake it. Growing up she made miniature objects for the imaginary occupants of miniature rooms. Someone's in the middle of shelling some oysters and then maybe you know they're getting ready to cook dinner because there's a there's a steak in the pan. There's a sense that you know you see this world and you start to make up a story and that might have been part of the attraction for me when I was a kid. I was always making up stories about the dolls that lived in the house. Everything I Never Told You published in 2014 sold a million copies and was chosen Amazon's best book of the year. That book is very much an exploration of secrets everything associated with a mixed marriage between a Chinese man and an American white woman. Well I started thinking about the family and they ended up becoming a mixed race family because I'm in a mixed race marriage myself. You won't see pictures of Ing with her family because she's been trolled online. I've had people send me nasty messages, nasty emails, out of the blue strangers you know.

Because you are in a mixed marriage. That's why they say they're angry anyway. I think it really goes much deeper to misogyny and to their questions about what they think women should be allowed to do. And I posted this message on Twitter so that people could see. And the good thing that came out of that was that a lot of women, particularly Asian women, wrote to me and they said I've been harassed like that too. She's horrified by attacks on Asian Americans prompted by coronavirus.

It makes me feel sad for fellow Asian Americans that we will always be seen as other and as foreign no matter how long we've been here, no matter what we might be doing to fight this epidemic just like everyone else is. In the Hulu adaptation of Little Fires Everywhere, one of the plot lines involves a dilemma. Linda, you have to do this. There's no choice. The judge ordered. Who deserves to raise a baby girl?

It's only one hour. Her poor Chinese mother? Come on, baby.

Come on. Or the childless, wealthy, white couple desperate to adopt her? I think my job as a fiction writer is to present questions to the reader more so than to present answers. Between hardcover and paperback editions, Little Fires Everywhere has spent nearly two years on the New York Times bestsellers list. Celeste Ng's success, she hopes, will give her the power to open doors for other Asian American writers.

No one story is going to tell the whole Asian American experience. If I'm offered a seat at the table, I want to make other seats at the table. I guess I want to make more chairs for other people. Now, a reminder that while we're all homebound, take time to check out our Sunday morning website and stay with CBS News for the latest on this scourge of coronavirus. We leave you this morning near Savannah, New York, where you'll find Savannah, New York in the Finger Lakes, a favorite spot for migrating snow geese. I'm Jane Pauley.

Please stay safe and join us when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning. This is Intelligence Matters with former acting director of the CIA, Michael Morell. Bridge Colby is co-founder and principal of the Marathon Initiative, a project focused on developing strategies to prepare the United States for an era of sustained great power competition. The United States put our mind to something we can usually figure it out. What people are saying and what we kind of know analytically and empirically is our strategic situation, our military situation is not being matched up with what we're doing. Follow Intelligence Matters wherever you get your podcasts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-28 10:35:54 / 2023-01-28 10:56:20 / 20

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